Nuclear Weapons

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Nuclear Weapons and International Law: The Impact of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

With Honduras being the 50th state to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on the 24th of October 2020, the 90 day countdown has begun for the treaty to come into force. Honduras also happened to ratify the treaty on UN Day, and not just any UN day, but the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. That means the TPNW will come into force on 22 January 2021. Maybe it will be an omen of 2021 being less of a bonfire than 2020. In the face of the perceived general trend away from multilateralism, this multilateral treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement for any the prohibited activities for State Parties. It is a major step in the banning of nuclear weapons – by actually banning them. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was supposed to lead to eventual disarmament, but after 50 years there is growing discontent with…

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The ICJ and nuclear disarmament: towards a universal obligation?

Today is the anniversary of the ICJ’s Nuclear Weapons Advisory Opinion. We would like to revisit, and invite readers to reflect on, one particular conclusion (not discussed in previous posts on the Marshall Islands cases here, here, here), contained in operative paragraph 2 F (§ 105) of the Opinion: “(t)here exists an obligation to…

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‘With Friends Like That, Who Needs Enemies?’: Extraterritorial Sanctions Following the United States’ Withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Agreement

On Monday 21 May 2018, the US Secretary of State announced that, as a result of its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (‘JCPOA’ or ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’), the United States is set to impose the ‘strongest sanctions in history’ against Iran. While the remaining states parties are committed to preserve the Iran Nuclear…

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So, Has This Ever Happened Before?

For the past week or so I’ve been enjoying the start of my sabbatical in New York, as a visiting professor at Columbia this semester. And for the past couple of days I’ve been enjoying – well, experiencing – the chaotic collapse of parts of the city during the UN General Assembly. And today I could enjoy –…

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The Relationship of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons with other Agreements: Ambiguity, Complementarity, or Conflict?

As discussed in Dan Joyner’s recent blog entry, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by 122 States at a United Nations diplomatic conference in New York on 7 July 2017. Article 18 of the Treaty addresses its “relationship with other agreements”. There is, though, an ongoing debate as to the implications of this…

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